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EU police decode drug lord's secrets using instant messengers

Gold Max

Staff member
Imperfections in encryption sometimes play into the hands of justice.


Secure messengers helped solve a global drug trafficking case. A joint operation by Europol and the police forces of several countries led to the arrest of six people and the seizure of 2.7 tons of cocaine.

Serbian police led the operation with the support of Brazil, Croatia, France, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia. The investigation targeted the Balkan Cartel, suspected of smuggling illegal substances from South America to Europe by sea.

One of those arrested was a citizen of Serbia, the organizer of the cartel. It was his correspondence that put the police on the right track.

What kind of messenger "let down" the drug lord is not specified. However, it is known that the case of the elimination of several platforms that were often used in various illegal operations helped the authorities understand how communication between members of criminal groups works. The EncroChat, Sky ECC and ANOM services have been shut down at various times over the past few years. The analysis of these cases served as the basis for the arrest of thousands of suspects in various cases.

On August 24, a global search was conducted on the territory of 15 countries. As a result, not only 2.7 tons of cocaine were confiscated from the criminals, but also two expensive cars, a luxury watch and about €550,000 in cash.

This is not the first time that hacking of encrypted messengers has led to major arrests. In May of this year, European police arrested three of the "most powerful" drug lords in the Balkans and 10 other suspects in different countries. For this, law enforcement agencies also thank the successful Sky ECC hack.
Thus, the use of technologies for decoding messages in “encrypted” messengers is becoming an increasingly effective tool in the fight against international crime. Although such incidents cause a mixed reaction from the public, imperfections in encryption sometimes play into the hands of justice.